Road Warrior Burnout: A Worthy Problem

Too much travel can cause anybody a load of stress.   Exhibit A is Brad Feld, one of Silicon Valley’s best-known angel/venture capitalists.  He lives in Colorado and was traveling 50-75% of the time.   He hit a wall.  Knew he couldn’t keep it up and still lead an emotionally healthy life.

His solution?  He quit traveling for business – cold turkey.  The Harvard Business Review interviewed him here, and Brad writes about it here.   Not traveling seems to be working for him.

The question is, how many of your firm’s road warriors are in danger of hitting this kind of wall?  The consequences can’t be good.

An Alarming “What If”

Imagine if the top ten percent of your frequent travelers called a long-term strike on business travel, like Brad Feld did.  What would happen to your customer relationships,  business development, staff development, collaboration, innovation, etc, etc.? Not to mention the cost of replacing those no-more-travelers  with folks who will travel a lot (or so they say).

What Are The Signs?

Surely your frequent travelers make up some, maybe much of your firm’s top-rated talent.  So who is watching for the early warning signs of traveler burnout?  Who even knows what those signs are?

And if you see those early warning signs, what’s the right response – less travel? Better quality or less stressful travel? Travel recovery days? Dinner for two on the company’s dime?

Who Owns The Problem? Continue reading

Turning the Open Booking Lights On

Lights Off, Lights OnGood debates require good definitions.  The polarizing phrase “Open Booking” is a case in point.  It has at least two very different meanings.

A popular interpretation of Open Booking has travelers booking outside the approved corporate channel, with no responsibility to get their booking data back to their company. This is truly “rogue” booking behavior.

Rogue bookings undermine a travel program’s ability to manage duty of care, and to collect important information in a timely manner.  The travel manager is very much in the dark about these travelers and their spend.  Call this “Open Booking, Lights Off”.

The less understood version of Open Booking comes from the principles of Managed Travel 2.0  Specifically, the one that says “Let travelers book anywhere – so long as the company gets the data quickly.”

It’s that last phrase that requires the booking be done in  such a way that the company gets timely visibility of the booking.  Call this “Open Booking, Lights On”.

Some 40-50% of corporate hotel bookings are done in the dark.  That’s a big black hole of spend and traveler location data.  This black hole isn’t being resolved by traditional means.

How is failing to address this well-known and persistent  problem not a dereliction of duty of care?

Travel managers must find a way to turn bright lights on to this problem.  It’s a question of how, not why.

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